Livni optimistic at bleak TA polling station (JERUSALEM POST) By LAHAV HARKOV 03/27/12)
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The Kadima polling station in party leadership candidate Tzipi
Livni´s home turf – north Tel Aviv - was a ghost town as it opened at
10 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Supporters of MK Shaul Mofaz pitched a makeshift tent out of banners
reading "Mofaz. Prime Minister.," where they gave out t-shirts and
caps, while Livni activists handed out apparel at a nearby table.
Both sides hung signs off of every possible tree branch and pole
outside the building where the voting was set to take place.
The young activists, mostly in their twenties and early thirties,
were offset by the slow trickle of voters, all of whom appeared to be
middle-aged or older.
Soon enough, the bold-faced names started to arrive, like MK Ronit
Tirosh, the head of Mofaz´s campaign in Tel Aviv, and MK Doron Avital
showing support for Livni.
Tirosh´s explanation for the low turnout is that "this is Tel Aviv;
"Those who joined Kadima during [former prime minister and party
founder Ariel] Sharon´s time and are disappointed by Livni might not
vote at all," she said. "I hope Shaul [Mofaz] will win, because he
will keep people loyal to our party."
The MK predicted that 40 percent of Tel Aviv´s Kadima members would
come to the polls. While she was confident that Mofaz would win
easily, Tirosh admitted that Tel Aviv is Livni territory, and said
she thought votes in the White City would be split relatively evenly
between the two candidates.
As Tirosh was speaking, reporters began to grumble about the lack of
action on the scene, hoping that Livni would show up with a big,
loud, cheering entourage.
Those hopes half came true. Livni leader arrived with about 10
people, including her husband Naftali Spitzer, MK Yoel Hasson, and
bodyguards, chanting "Tzi-PI Liv-NI!"
The reporters and photographers from every newspaper, television
channel and radio station in the country formed a larger throng than
Livni´s followers, and they continued to walk with her up to the
table where volunteers checked off her name.
"I am happy to hear the polls are full of people coming to vote,"
Livni said, despite her surroundings. "It is a great feeling; people
are taking the future in their hands."
"The people want to see me at the head of Kadima," she declared.
Livni added that the race is not personal, but is the time for voters
to decide between "two different Kadimas." Livni´s Kadima will be
bigger, stronger and an alternative to Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu´s government, she said, while Mofaz will form a coalition
with haredi (ultra-orthodox) parties and pay any price to be in the
"There are significant differences between us, in the most basic
issues," she explained. "This is a time to make a major decision."
Livni ducked behind a screen, presumably to choose her own name, and
dropped her envelope in the voting box as cameras clicked and flashed
Then, the candidate departed the same chanting flurry in which she
arrived, leaving the polling station to become a ghost town again. (©
1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 03/27/12)
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